Have you ever expected one thing and gotten another?
Once while traveling to Germany, I expected a small, gutless, compact rental car, because that’s what I reserved. What I got was a large, four-door, super-fast BMW luxury car, because that’s all they had left. I had great fun on the autobahn, where there is no speed limit.
Another time, when I was a young preacher, I expected hundreds of people to fill all the seats in the building I rented for nightly evangelistic meetings, because I sent out more than 100,000 flyers. What I got was about 50 people, all of whom were already followers of Jesus.
Expectations can be exceeded, or they can be dashed.
When Jesus came to our world, some people’s expectations were surpassed beyond their wildest dreams. They were so shocked and delighted to find out what God is really like. Others’ expectations were completely disappointed. Many were expecting a military Messiah, who would violently overthrow the Roman Empire, exalting Israel to the pinnacle of political power. When Jesus arrived, He was so completely different, they thought He couldn’t possibly be the Messiah. So, they crucified Him.
Many were expecting a military Messiah…
In Isaiah 42, verse three, we read this astounding prophecy of what the people should have expected the Messiah to be like:
A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth.
Allow me to decipher the poetic symbolism here:
He will not be rough and insensitive to fragile people beaten down by life,
Nor will He extinguish the barely-alive hope of people who are ready to give up;
Rather, He will treat people right and be true to them.
Jesus didn’t come to the world as a fighter to crush people under His power. He came as a healer to mend broken people. He came to uplift those brutalized by life, flooding their hearts with the realization that God sees them, feels their wounds, and loves them more than His own life.
During December, many people who wouldn’t typically give it much thought, think about the birth of Christ. We who believe have a unique opportunity to show the beauty of God’s love to those who, for a fleeting moment, are looking heavenward for a Savior worthy of their adoration.
Expectation is in the air.
What will we fill it with?